Bless the Lord, O My Soul
Thank You, Lord, for the fellowship of believers, the Church of Jesus Christ. Some have gone to be with You and I thank You for them.
Consider: Open your heart and mind to the spirit of praise which these two psalms invoke!
The singing processions, for which these "Songs of Ascent" were especially appropriate, began far away in foreign territory (Psa. 120:5), but now end with this beautiful song sung, finally, in the house of the Lord (134:1). The two psalms encourage us to bless the Lord and be blessed by him. In Psalm 134 the word "bless" (NRSV, ESV) appears in each verse, turning in verse 3 to call on the Lord to bless us. We can imagine the worshippers standing in the courts of the Lord, blessing him and longing for his blessing.
Our first duty and joy is to bless the Lord: to express in his presence our gratitude and thanksgiving for who he is and what he has done. The servants of the Lord in the psalm are called to do so day and night, and, just as we should "pray continually" (1 Thess. 5:17), perhaps it is also our joyful responsibility to regularly turn our hearts and minds to God, blessing him for his worth and praising him for his work. If only we were able to live with such a spirit of praise, how much it would change our disposition if such blessing were to be on our lips more frequently!
Psalm 135 is not listed as one of the "Songs of Ascent," but such an outburst of praise must have been on the lips of the pilgrims once they reached their destination. Now that they had safely arrived in Zion, they would sing about all he had done--choosing his people to be his treasured possession (135:4), overseeing the elements (135:5-7), delivering his people and granting them an inheritance (135:8-12) and showing his compassion at every turn (135:13,14). As those who have received all such benefits through Christ, let us join their song of blessing--and receive the Lord's blessing as we do so!
Spend a moment identifying some specific blessings you have received from the Lord's hand, and turn them into expressions of praise.
Gracious God, I lift my voice in praise to You for Your goodness and greatness. I tremble to think where I would be without Your hand upon my life.
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